Mara land is… Lion Land (part 1)

Morning has broken

Early in the morning on day four of our safari adventure, I was walking to our Land Cruiser with my gear to prepare for another exciting day in the Mara. While I was wondering where this strange light was coming from as we were still an hour before sunrise, I noticed the ‘blood-red-super’ moon on my right. And as I did not bring any gear for landscape photography (e.g. tripod) I just took a bit of a risk and tried a shot hand-holding my 600mm f/4 super telephoto lens…

‘Mara blood red super moon’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL on Nikon D850, f/4, 1/500 s., ISO 1400, -1.3EV exp. comp.

The Mara is a mystical place. You never really know what your day is going to look like after you wake up and start preparing for your safari. You may have certain expectations but in the end, the Mara seems to decide what it will present you with… Mornings always seem special though in the Mara. Some of our best moments were just after sunrise when we spotted lions: prides, couples, and cubs.

‘At the break of dawn’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL on Nikon D850, f/4, 1/250 s., ISO 64, -1.0EV exp. comp.

With a little help from your skilled guide/driver and with a little luck, you can position yourself in the right way to capture those magical Mara (lion) mornings…

‘Mara morning sunrise’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL on Nikon D850, f/8, 1/320 s., ISO 320, -0.3EV exp. comp.

…All from a safe distance off course. However, these lions have zero interest in tourists; they do have 100% interest in their fellow lions of the opposite gender. They can spend days working hard to make little lions…it’s another mystery to experience these animals who can be so cruel (in our view) yet can also be so caring and loving towards each other.

‘It’s a wonderful life in the Mara’
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL on Nikon D850, f/4, 1/250 s., ISO 100, -0.7EV exp. comp.

Talking about tourists: it was quite interesting to see the differences in tourists visiting the Mara in terms of their origin, travelling style, photography gear (if any), photography styles, etc. I’ll save that one for my next article… which I’m planning to send out tomorrow, so stay tuned!

And if my past articles on the Mara, this one, or perhaps tomorrow’s one strike a cord… just drop me a note at: as I’m aiming to organize a safari trip later this year for a small group of photography enthusiasts and share some of these experiences and best/personal photography practices.

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